Former TD and Minister of State Jackie Fahey dies aged 91

Former TD and Minister of State Jackie Fahey dies aged 91

A former Waterford TD has died at the age of 91.

John "Jackie" Fahey was a Fianna Fáil TD for more than 25 years and was part of the “gang of five” who helped elect Charles Haughey to become leader of the party.

Mr Fahey who was born in Clonmel, Co Tipperary in 1928 passed away at around 3.30am.

He was educated locally at the Christian Brothers School.

The popular former deputy first entered politics in 1950 when he was elected to Waterford County Council. He held his seat on that authority until 1970, and later from 1974 to 1999.

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for the Tipperary South constituency at the 1965 general election.

From the 1977 general election onwards, he was elected for the Waterford constituency.

Mr Fahey played a prominent role in securing the Fianna Fail leadership for Charles Haughey in 1979, and remained a staunch ally of the former Taoiseach, inside and outside the Dail.

He was part of the "gang of five", with Albert Reynolds, Tom McEllistrim, Sean Doherty and Mark Killilea, who campaigned within the Fianna Fail parliamentary party for Jack Lynch's replacement by Charles Haughey.

Former TD and Minister of State Jackie Fahey dies aged 91

At the time, Jack Lynch's government, with its 20-seat majority, was becoming increasingly unpopular. The group received the enthusiastic support of several backbenchers, who had been elected in Jack Lynch's landslide victory in 1977, and felt that their seats had become vulnerable.

More than 20 of them signed a secret letter, circulated by Tom McEllistrim, calling for Lynch's resignation. Jack Lynch had already decided to step down early in 1980 but brought his retirement forward several months to help George Colley's chances of succeeding him.

Haughey was the eventual winner and rewarded Fahey by appointing him Minister of State at the Department of Environment, a post he held for three years from 1979 to 1981.

He was not re-appointed in any future Haughey government but remained a loyalist. Fahey contested the 1989 European Parliament election for the Munster constituency but was not elected.

He was annoyed at his running mate in the constituency and subsequently voted against the proposed Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats coalition which subsequently lost him the party whip.

He re-applied for membership of the party in 1990 and was re-admitted.

Fahey lost his seat at the 1992 general election. He served out his council term on Waterford City Council, and retired from politics in 1999.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin paid tribute to the late politician.

"Jackie lived a life of public service and represented the people of his constituency at both a local and national level. He served with great commitment and diligence through many turbulent times," Mr Martin said.

“Jackie spent a total of 45 years on Waterford County Council having been first elected to it at the age of twenty one, and this record alone is testament to the work he undertook across the community, and the respect in which he was held by the people.

“On behalf of myself and the Fianna Fáil organisation I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Jackie’s family and wide circle of friends."

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